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Waveland Press has reprinted over twenty volumes of the most seaching accounts of the nature of the world religions. I congratulate them on putting Fingarette's Confucius:The Secular as Sacred back into circulation. It is amazing what Fingarette accomplishes in some eighty pages; no less than moving us out of our Western religious traditions and into the Confucian with its completely different mode of thought and personal orientation. Fingarette learned Chinese so he could compare translations. He discovered that Western ttranslations were mostly missing what was at the heart of Confucian thought; they carried their culture and its concepts as a baggage they were unable to leave behind. When he began he thought of Confucius as "a prosaic and parochial moralizer" but soon began to realize that was "presenting an imaginative vision of man equal in its grandeur to any I know." In Buddhist and European thought "it is individual mind, the inner life and reality of the individual, which is focal in understanding man." "All the extant translations have misled in presuming the subjective-psychologistic reading of the Analects." We have made a leap from the identity we earn through our membership in social groups to and inner world that separates us from our social shaping. I think that leap is characteristic of a supernaturalistic orientation, which does not exist in Confucian thought. "The disciple of Confuscius was surely all too aware that his task was one calling not for amazement and miracle but for constant 'cuttig, filing, carrying, polishing' in order to become a fully and truly human being, a worthy participant in society. All this seems to be the very essence of the anti-magical in outlook. Nor does it have the aura of the divine." Yet, the magical is also there. For, on practicing the Way fully, one can effortlessly bring about great consequences. Fingarette carefully considers this as a major issue and solves it in a way that cannot be described briefly. He gets his reader to leave behind the Western intonation of these concepts so the reader can begin to put together the nonWestern Confucian structure. . Though the pages of this book are few one begins to see the step by step development of Fingarette's understanding of Confucius. It is a very closely reasoned argument and the reader has to play close attention. Here is a master teacher at work, actually using some Confucian principles to get his readers to be illuminated by the Confucian Way.
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